Canada, China, EU and part­ners push for­ward on Paris cli­mate ac­cord

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - FOREIGN -

Some 30 en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ters will push for­ward on the Paris cli­mate ac­cord at a meet­ing to­day re­quested by Canada, China and the Euro­pean Union (EU).

With more than half of G20 mem­bers at­tend­ing -- rep­re­sent­ing most of the world’s largest economies -- “this first gath­er­ing of its kind aims to fur­ther gal­va­nize global mo­men­tum for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Paris Agree­ment,” the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion said.

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau of Canada, who will make a brief ap­pear­ance at the Mon­treal talks, will again stand apart from US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on this is­sue and res­o­lutely com­mit Canada to re­duce its car­bon foot­print, Cana­dian of­fi­cials have said.

When Trump chose to with­draw the United States from the Paris ac­cord, Canada, China and the Euro­pean Union im­me­di­ately reaf­firmed their re­spec­tive com­mit­ments to the cli­mate pact, and in July the G20 called the ac­cord “ir­re­versible.”

Nearly 200 coun­tries agreed in Paris at the end of 2015 to limit or re­duce car­bon diox­ide emis­sions with the aim of keep­ing the rise in aver­age global tem­per­a­tures to no more than 1.5 de­grees Cel­sius by 2050, com­pared to prein­dus­trial lev­els. On the eve of the Mon­treal con­fer­ence, Europe’s top cli­mate of­fi­cial Miguel Arias Canete said the EU con­tin­ues to press for “full and swift im­ple­men­ta­tion” of the ac­cord, not­ing that progress has been made to­ward fi­nal­iz­ing de­tails of its plan to re­duce Euro­pean emis­sions by 40 per­cent by 2030.

De­spite be­ing the world’s sixth-largest oil pro­ducer, Canada is “com­mit­ted to its in­ter­na­tional cli­mate obli­ga­tions,” said the en­vi­ron­ment min­istry.

It hopes to reach its cli­mate goal by mas­sively in­vest­ing in “clean en­ergy” tech­nolo­gies, a spokes­woman added.

Key player China and its spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive Xie Zhen­hua will bring to the ta­ble a po­ten­tially ma­jor ad­vance­ment in trans­porta­tion. China, along with Bri­tain and France, has an­nounced its in­ten­tions to ban petrol and diesel cars start­ing in 2040. This would bring a huge drop in air pol­lu­tion in the world’s largest car mar­ket.

And in a speech in Stras­bourg on Thurs­day, Euro­pean Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean-claude Juncker reaf­firmed the EU’S aim of be­ing “at the fore­front of the fight against cli­mate change.”

The US dealt that fight a ma­jor set­back when Trump pulled the world’s big­gest econ­omy out of the Paris ac­cord in June.

To bol­ster the EU po­si­tion, Juncker promised to soon put forth a pro­posal to re­duce car­bon emis­sions in the trans­porta­tion sec­tor.

Cather­ine Mckenna, Canada’s en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter, will mean­time press her coun­ter­parts and multi­na­tion­als chief ex­ec­u­tives to de­velop so­lu­tions for “a low-car­bon, cli­mate-re­silient econ­omy.”

Hold­ing the meet­ing in Mon­treal is not co­in­ci­dence. It is here that ne­go­ti­a­tions led to the first in­ter­na­tional agree­ment on the en­vi­ron­ment 30 years ago, with a ban on ozonede­plet­ing gases.

In ad­di­tion to Canada, the EU coun­tries and China, na­tions in­clud­ing Rus­sia, In­dia, Mex­ico, Brazil, In­done­sia, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey will be rep­re­sented by se­nior min­is­ters.

With only 50 days be­fore the next United Na­tions Con­fer­ence on Cli­mate Change (COP23), some of the low­ly­ing na­tions hard­est hit by the ef­fects of cli­mate change (the Marshall Is­lands, Fiji, Mal­dives) and some of the poor­est (Mali and Ethiopia) will also be present.

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